Book Review – Chasing Freedom

Superversive SF has a great review of Marina Fontaine’s ‘Chasing Freedom.’

I can’t add much to what is a fine review other than to say one aspect of the book that I found most interesting was the relative lack of action compared to what one might expect from the genre.

This is no ‘Red Dawn’ or ‘Equilibrium’. Yes, while the freedom fighters are more than willing to use force and violence to achieve their means, it’s not the preferred method. In a sense, this answers the question, and quite well — how would one put a nation back together again, should it come to arms? There will be bad blood on both sides, but the methods Fontaine’s rebels take tend toward the humane, with the intent of retaining their own humanity while shaming those serving the regime.

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Refreshingly, the consequences our main characters face are real ones, which makes the final pay-off all the more triumphant, albeit bittersweet. There are scars on both sides, and while the ending is bittersweet, there’s a definite hope for the future for the folks in the book.

The undercurrent of hope is refreshing, particularly in consideration to the relatively hopeless classics of the genre such as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451. I think the author’s background, perhaps, has a bit to do with that. Orwell and Bradbury never faced a despotic regime; they were blessed to be born in Western democracies. That’s a perspective that is, I think, critical.

If I had anything to quibble about, it would be that there are quite a few different characters in not a lot of book space, but I will readily admit that is an aspect of myself that does not generally align with the majority of the reading public. All in all, this is a great book, and well worth of its Dragon nomination last year.

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